There are certain U2 facts that have been repeated and reported enough that we assume they’re accurate. One of these is the idea that U2 signed with CBS Ireland in March, 1979. That’s mentioned in several magazine articles and other places, and up until a few moments ago it was in U2 Diary, too.
But I think it’s wrong. I’m going to say that the contract was signed in the summer of 1979.
On the surface, think about it: If U2 signed in March, 1979, with CBS Ireland, what on earth would’ve taken them a full six months to put together U2-3 and release it? They didn’t even go into the studio to record those songs until August, so why would they have waited?
Then there are some relevant facts:
- A March 19, 1979, article in Hot Press doesn’t say anything about a CBS Ireland contract. It’s a lengthy interview by Bill Graham with the whole band and Paul McGuinness, so you have to assume they’d say something if a contract was signed or about to be signed.
- The CBS Ireland contract is mentioned in a lengthy Hot Press interview dated October 26, 1979.
- Here’s the key evidence — this Record Collector article on @U2 has Chas de Whalley explaining that the contract was signed after he saw U2 play at McGonagle’s in June, 1979.
So that’s all the proof I need. I’ll be going against the grain with this and many other facts/events, and someone will probably accuse me of getting it wrong in U2 Diary. But I think I have enough evidence, at least in this case.